Chesterton Tribune



James Douglas Mills, 79

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James Douglas Mills, 79, of Valparaiso, went to be with the Lord at the VNA Hospice Center in Valparaiso on Monday, March 2, 2020.

He was born in Hammond on Sept. 1, 1940, to James and Willie Juanita Mills.

Jim married Lena Janette Mills (nee Thomason) on June 10, 1961. They had a wonderful life together, serving Jesus, and they were also in business together.

Jim served as a SeaBee in the U.S. Navy and was chosen Sailor of the Year in 1966 at Glenview Naval Base in Glenview, Ill. He worked in construction all of his career. Jim, alongside his father, built 17 churches in the Northwest Region. Many people in the area have a beautiful fireplace built by Jim and his sons, while Jim and Janette owned Fireside Specialties.

For a few years after retiring from the fireplace business, Jim owned Midwest Air Duct Cleaning. Janette was always by his side, “Keeping the business on track.” Jim was an artist who enjoyed fishing and hunting and he liked inventing things.

Jim leaves behind two sons, James Wilson Mills (Christine) and Jason Chadwick Mills; and grandson, Christopher James Mills; sister, Nancy Lee Beavers; two foster girls, Kathleen Houk Prettyman and Charlene Houk Espinoza; niece, Dawn Lee Vaca (Santiago); nephews, Darren Beavers and Greg Palmer (Debbie); great and great great nieces and nephews

Preceding him in death were his wife, Janette; and parents, the Rev. and Mrs. James C. Mills.

After the passing of Janette, four years ago, Jim took care of his mother-in-law, Flossie Thomason, until her death in 2019. Jim was a very humble, strong, honest man. He loved God as he served Him in his daily walk. He had a dream/project he wanted to pursue before he passed: giving hats to the lonely, forgotten people in nursing homes who have served our country, called “Hats Off to Vets.” His project will be started by Nancy.

There will be no services per his request. Arrangements were handled by Edmonds & Evans Funeral Home, 517 Broadway, Chesterton. Online condolences can be offered at


Posted 3/6/2020




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